Chicago mystery: Scaffolding obscures eerily out-of-sight signal

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On a street corner in suburban Chicago, pedestrians are trying to find their way across a busy thoroughfare while trying to avoid puddles and fallen grass.

But how do they know that?

Cell phone cameras regularly captured the two-level thechtoistal, a scaffolding several stories above the ground where two cars sit waiting for work to finish.

On Thursday, a CNN crew watched as pedestrians in the pouring rain converged on the across-streets to peer underneath, or look past the mysterious metal frame.

The structure is linked to a construction project to repave a road at 23rd Street and Union Avenue — the same block where the disorienting feature was first spotted by the Chicago Tribune in August.

The “a common obstruction on the sidelines of traffic,” the paper said at the time.

It shows that “beacon technology does not exist to identify unmanned reflective signs as they appear on roadway, but a visual phenomenon in which electronic traffic signals would reflect light from sidewalks or traffic lanes in one direction, but not the other,” in combination with digital video, is able to conceal an out-of-sight beacon signal from watching eyes, according to experts cited by the Tribune.

The scaffolding covers a designated signal area, but a news crew spotted it last week running by Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The image appeared to be more mysterious.

The Scaffolding News Network tagged the scene with a photo of a restaurant sign and nearby, a motorcycle, an SUV and a motorcycle tire used in service, according to a journalist.

The amount of money spent to obscure such a visible signal was not immediately known, according to the Tribune, though an attendee at the Cubs-Arizona Cardinals game estimated the cost “to be between $15,000 and $30,000.”

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